quotes Mindset makeover: pioneering change from within

05 February 2024
Short Url
Updated 05 February 2024

Mindset makeover: pioneering change from within

A few weeks ago, while passing by the Alkhobar Corniche, I witnessed two contrasting scenes: a teenager carelessly throwing a soda can onto the grass, and nearby, a group of volunteers diligently picking up litter. This comparison struck me deeply as it was a vivid illustration of a crucial choice we face in our daily lives — are we part of the solution, or are we part of the problem?

Imagine the teenager as a traditional employee facing daily challenges (represented by the empty can) and passively accepting them (or simply discarding them). Contrast this with proactive employees who innovate to enhance business processes. Similar to the volunteer group transforming the corniche, these dynamic employees can revolutionize a company, creating a more efficient and enjoyable work environment.

Throughout my career, I have frequently encountered similar complaints from colleagues and friends discussing life at their firms. The common thread is that these grievances seem to travel only from one person’s lips to another’s ears, and the typical response is merely a bit of sympathy. Often, they are met with more tales of discontent from other companies, attempting to establish that such issues are normal everywhere. However, this should not be the case.

Such employees are the primary contributors to a negative environment in any company. If someone, instead of just complaining, takes the initiative to examine the issue from a new angle, things might be different. They could try addressing it with innovation or at least bring it to upper management’s attention, who might not be aware of it. By doing so, this person might find themselves in a better job without having to change their career. Again, in the face of challenges, we must choose to be part of the solution rather than worsen the problem.

Every employee, regardless of rank, significantly influences their organization. Whether dealing with inefficiencies, complex processes, scattered isolated systems, interpersonal conflicts, or even strategic slips, the approach we take can either perpetuate them or pave the way for effective solutions. For instance, complaining about a defective process without taking action only adds to a negative atmosphere, while proactive problem-solving contributes to organizational improvement.

Our actions, big or small, shape the culture and success of our organizations.

The business world is filled with examples of leaders and innovators who have not only identified critical issues in their industries but have also actively worked toward resolving them. These individuals stand as testaments to the power of a solution-oriented mindset. Take Steve Jobs, for example. His return to Apple in 1997 marked a pivotal point for the company, which was then facing near bankruptcy. Jobs did not just identify the problems; he actively sought solutions by simplifying the product line, innovating in design, enhancing user experience, and eventually leading Apple to become one of the most valuable companies in the world. His approach was not merely about fixing issues; it was about reimagining the future of technology and consumer interaction. Jobs’s legacy is a powerful reminder that viewing challenges as opportunities for transformation can lead to revolutionary changes.

Another great example is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who stands as a testament to transformative problem-solving in a regional context. The crown prince is widely recognized for his ambitious Vision 2030 plan, a blueprint for diversifying the Saudi economy beyond oil. His approach to tackling the economic and social challenges facing Saudi Arabia — from fostering investment in renewable energy to introducing reforms that encourage tourism and entertainment industries — demonstrates how visionary leadership can turn challenges into opportunities. This initiative demonstrates a commitment to not only adapting to global economic trends but also to proactively shaping a future that is sustainable and dynamic.

Going back to firms, the impact of individual actions is often underestimated. Each employee, regardless of their position, plays a crucial role in driving change. It is a common misconception that one’s role is too small to make a difference; however, collective change begins with these individual initiatives. When a single person adopts a problem-solving mindset, they not only contribute to personal and immediate solutions but also influence and inspire others. For instance, improving a small workflow or suggesting a new idea can create a ripple effect, encouraging a culture of innovation and efficiency within the team. This approach extends beyond solving immediate problems — it fosters a collaborative environment where challenges are seen as opportunities for growth and innovation.

Individual efforts, therefore, are integral to creating a dynamic corporate culture. By focusing on solutions and inspiring colleagues to do the same, every employee becomes a catalyst for positive change, contributing significantly to the organization’s overall success. A culture that encourages addressing problems head-on can lead to significant improvements in productivity, employee satisfaction, and innovation. Initiatives such as regular brainstorming sessions, open forums for feedback, and supportive leadership can foster this culture.

Employees can start by identifying areas for improvement in their daily work, proposing constructive solutions, and collaborating with colleagues. Engaging in continuous learning and staying open to new ideas are also vital for fostering a problem-solving attitude.

In the corporate world, the choice is clear: be an active part of solutions rather than a passive part of problems. Our actions, big or small, shape the culture and success of our organizations. Let us commit to being proactive, solution-focused, and collaborative, transforming our challenges into opportunities for innovation and growth.

Firas Abussaud is a petroleum engineering systems specialist with more than 21 years of experience in the industry. He holds a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and a master of science in construction engineering and management from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Beyond his technical expertise, he is interested in photography, graphic design and artificial intelligence.